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43% of Russians Think State Duma Is Not Needed, Poll Says

President Putin addressing the State Duma. Vladimir Filonov

Nearly half of Russians think that the State Duma, the Russia's lower house of parliament, plays too little a role in the country's political process to be needed, a survey indicated.

Only 39 percent of respondents — down 8 percentage points since 2011 — said the country could not function normally without the Duma, while 43 percent said the legislature was largely redundant, compared with 32 percent in 2011.

Only 16 percent of respondents said they had positive feelings about the Duma's work, down 4 percentage points since 2011.

The survey, conducted from Nov. 15-18 by the independent Levada Center pollster, involved 1,600 respondents across 45 Russian regions. The statistical margin of error did not exceed 3.4 percent.

The Duma has approved a number of controversial bills in recent years, including banning the promotion of non-traditional sexual relationships toward minors.

That legislation in particular has been widely criticized in Russia and abroad as a clampdown on the rights of sexual minorities.

Other legal initiatives that have proven unpopular among certain parts of Russian society are the strict anti-piracy law and a ban on U.S. adoptions of Russian orphans.

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